The SOMM Journal

December 2014/January 2015

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Page 108 of 119

{ }  109 Larger outside interests are looking to Turkey as a ready source of wine for export markets as well. In 2011, Diageo Chateau & Estates acquired the country's largest wine brand, Kayra, when it purchased Mey lcki, Turkey's top producer and distributor of spirits, for $2.1 billion. Although primarily focused on raki and vodka, Diageo is keep - ing a close eye on Turkey's developing middle class which despite many obstacles is embr acing wine. Along with the U.S. and Argentina, Turkey is Diageo's principal area of production for its European markets. Modern wine culture emerged in Turkey in the early 1990s when visionary pro - ducers picked up where the Turkish government left off after the introduction of F rench grape varieties to Thrace in the 1950s. Although Gülor is credited with the country's first commercial production of Bordeaux-style wines, Sabancı champions the country's indigenous grape varieties as a way for Turkey to differentiate its wines on the global market. The boutique winery has recently begun exporting wine to the U.S. and is looking at Russia and the U.K. as well. "We're interested in American consumers because they're open to new things; there aren't the prejudices in the U.S. that we see in other markets." While Turkey doesn't have a formal appellation system, certain regions have long been identified with specific native varieties: Kalecik Karası and Emir can be found in Central Anatolia, Thrace and the Aegean; the Black Sea region is home to Narince; and the red varieties Öküzgözü and Bog˘azkere are grown primarily in Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia. International varieties are planted primarily in the coastal regions of Thrace and the Aegean. Of the three native red varieties, Kalecik Karası is closely related to Pinot Noir and typically vinified in a Burgundian or Italian style. The wines of Vinkara, which is located northeast of Ankara near the region of Kalecik, are made by Piedmontese winemaker Marco Monchiero. His Kalecik Karası Reserve ($25.99) is light and bright with pure red and black fruits and well-integrated French oak. Vinkara also makes Narince ($15.99), a variety that leans towards Albariño with citrus, stone fruit and topical fruit. With more color and tannin, Öküzgözü and Bog˘azkere lend themselves to Bordelaise winemaking techniques like those of Antoine Bastid d'Izard at Gülor. The winery produces Sayeste mono-varietal and blended native wines ($19.99) of exceptional varietal character and G Silver Bordeaux-style blends of Öküzgözü with Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot ($24.99). The ancient Hittites cultivated grapes in Eastern Anatolia between 3,000 and 4,000 BCE and their word wiyana is believed to be the ancestral word for wine. In Biblical times, Turkey was a well-documented supplier of wine to neigh - boring Greece and to markets as distant as France and Italy. REDS Bog˘azkere (bow-aahz-keh-reh) Called "Throat Scratcher" for its generous tannins, it's deeply-pigmented with black fruit flavors akin to a blend of Syrah and Nebbiolo, with medium acidity. Kalecik Karası (kah-le-djic car-ah-ser, with "er" as in British "father") The "Black from Kalecik" is similar to Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo and Nerello Mascalese, with floral, tarry aromas, stony minerality and fine tannins. Öküzgözü (oh-cooz-goe-zue) "Bull's Eye" for its large ber - ries, it's deeply-colored with plush fruit and bright acidity similar to a Barbera or balanced Zinfandel. WHITES Emir (eh-mere) A crisp, dry white with herbal, green melon and apple flavors that take on buttery notes similar to Chardonnay as it ages. One of the few untrellised variet - ies that grows low to the ground. Narince (nah-rin-djeh) Translates as "delicate" and com- bines the characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc, Arneis and Albariño with citrus, pink grapefruit, herbal, chalky mineral flavors and fresh acidity. Phonetic Guide to Turkey's Top Five Gülor wines are imported by Meritaj in Emerald Hills, CA. The Vinkara Narince, imported by Winebow, leans toward Albariño, with citrus, stone fruit and topical fruit. Gülor wines are imported The Vinkara Narince, imported

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